Barba can spark Dogs attack: Patten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barba can spark Dogs attack: Patten

By Wayne Heming 08/08/2008 06:31:52 PM Comments (0)

Injured fullback Luke Patten has predicted his exciting replacement Benjamin Barba could flick the attacking switch for the misfiring Bulldogs against a Cowboys outfit who have not celebrated a win since mid-April.

Coach Steve Folkes will let the Darwin-born, Mackay-raised Barba off the leash in his starting debut on Saturday night and Patten said he couldn't wait to see the teenager exploit Suncorp Stadium's famous open spaces.

Barba, 19, scored 29 tries and kicked 69 goals in 17 appearance in the national under 20 competition before being used off the bench against the Dragons in his NRL debut.

While disappointed he can't help Folkes and his teammates through a rough period, Patten said he was pretty excited about seeing Barba play fullback.

"I'm just going to tell him to play his natural game, he's a freakish talent with the footy," said Patten.

"I'm not sure how much fullback he's played but from the games I've seen he's pretty freakish and he could be a bit of an x factor for us.

"We've been struggling to score points so I think he might the sort of kid to give us something.

"He's not lacking in confidence and by not playing in the front line he won't have big fellas running at him so he might be able to inject himself into the attack."

As for the departed Sonny Bill Williams, captain Andrew Ryan was clearly annoyed when his name was raised at training.

"I'm not going to go anywhere with Sonny Bill, so there's no point even wasting your breath," he fired.

Ryan said both teams had been under the pump and both wanted to win Saturday night's game.

"There's plenty of motivation there," he said.

"It's been a pretty frustrating season for Folksey (Steve Folkes) and the players and results wise we definitely want to get some improvement in the last five games," he said.

"We've got to get our heads around playing football, that's what we get paid to do.

"We don't need to worry about the Cowboys too much, we have to fight for each other."

Bulky winger Matt Utai failed to make the trip north, with Heka Nanai keeping his spot.

Prop Jarrad Hickey and departing hooker Corey Hughes, however, will both back in the blue and white.

While both clubs are desperate to avoid the wooden spoon, which the Cowboys are favourites to take after losing 13 games straight, they'll also be playing for the Reconciliation Cup.

Prior to their NRL clash, officials will name the Indigenous Team of the Century, a side that could include injured Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston along with legends Mal Meninga and Arthur Beetson.

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